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Retinal disorders Retinal disorders

Retinal disorders

Your retina is the tissue found at the back of the eye and contains special cells called the photoreceptor cells, making the eye sensitive to light. The photoreceptor cells convert the light rays received by the eyes into electrical impulses which are transported to the brain for interpretation. The light rays received by the eye focus on your retina while they travel through the lens, pupil and cornea.

What is the macula?

The macula is a small section of the retina. It’s half a millimetre in size, but it contains many photoreceptors that are specialised, and it is this part of the retina which controls our central vision. It helps us distinguish colours and notice fine details of images.

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What are the symptoms of retinal disorders?

Here are some prevalent symptoms of retinal disorders:

  • Loss of vision
  • Reduced central vision 
  • Straight-line distortion
  • Presence of shadows and reduction in peripheral vision  
  • Flashing lights 
  • Decrease or increase in the shape of objects
  • Cobwebs and floaters, especially when viewing things on a white background

Assessment of the retina 

When you visit our clinic to assess your retina, we will take your detailed history to help us understand your symptoms. Our surgeon will examine your eye using a non-invasive scanner known as Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and a slit lamp. The OCT helps to give information regarding the structure of your retina.

We may carry out a dye test known as fluorescein angiography or ICG to thoroughly assess the retina structure in a more dynamic way. Another diagnostic examination to evaluate the retina is a visual field test which provides information about how the retina functions. Occasionally, some patients need some special tests like electrodiagnostic to assess the retina properly.

The most common conditions that can blind the retina

The following are only a few of the most common retinal-blinding conditions in the UK:

Diabetic retinopathy 

Some diabetic people experience small retinal blood vessel damage, and leakage of fluids which cause retinal swelling, displacement of the photoreceptors gradually leading to distortion. As diabetes advances, it leads to the development and bleeding of abnormal blood vessels. The symptoms require immediate medical attention to prevent further damage and blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is also a leading condition in the UK, causing blindness.

Wet age-related macular degeneration (WET AMD)

In this condition, it usually starts with sudden, but painless distortion and blurring of the central vision and these symptoms gradually progresses. It results from damage of the photoreceptors due to abnormal blood vessels from the layer under the retina called the choroid.

The condition usually requires urgent medical attention to prevent irreversible vision loss. It is also the most common cause of blindness in the UK. 

Myopic choroidal neovascularisation

Patients who experience a high degree of myopia have abnormally stretched retina and eyeballs. This makes the barrier between the abnormal blood vessels and the retina to be susceptible to damages. When the retina grows abnormal cells, it damages the photoreceptors, and the patient begins to experience loss of vision symptoms and central vision distortion.  

Retinal vein occlusion

In retinal vein occlusion, the smaller contributors or main trunk of the retinal veins, draining blood out of the retina gets blocked. Vein occlusion results in blurring of the central vision or complete loss of vision due to accumulation of fluid in the macular andthe force of the blockage, and this damages the photoreceptors.

If the occlusion occurs in the branch vein and the central part of the retina is unharmed, vision blurring will be peripheral or off centre.

Other issues affecting the retina 

If you notice or have any symptom related to the underlisted retinal conditions, endeavour to visit our clinic for the right diagnosis.

Central serous retinopathy 

This retinal condition results from the build-up of fluid in the macula from the choroid. This usually makes your vision distorted and dims the central vision. In the majority of central serous retinopathy cases, it gets resolved on its own, but others become chronic, needing treatment.

Vitreomacular traction and macular holes 

Vitreomacular traction disorders are usually stumbled on, but if the condition becomes advanced, it could lead to distortion. Formation of macular holes may lead to central vision loss and distortion of straight lines. The condition usually requires surgery.

Posterior vitreous detachment

If you begin to experience floaters and flashing lights, you should seek medical care. Although these symptoms may stop after a while, a doctor needs to carry out an eye assessment to rule out retinal detachment or tear. If the retinal tears or detaches, you will need urgent treatment.

In some cases, floaters may persist, but there are treatment options available for it which you would need to discuss with your clinician.

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With Ophthalmic Consultant
Book a consultation today

or call: 020 7183 3725

Post-operative cystoid macular oedema (CMO)

This condition may occur following a complicated surgery. And it affects about 2% of the patients who undergo cataract surgery. Applying drops to the eye may treat the condition, but sometimes, injections administered in the vitreous cavity or around the eye can manage the macular swelling.

If you experience any symptom relating to retinal disorders, visit Optimal Vision for immediate diagnosis and retinal treatment, you can also call us on 020 7183 3725 to book an appointment for your retinal assessment. 

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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